In this blog, I am going to resolve all your related queries about OETS and IELTS. We will be talking about the similarities and differences between both language assessment tests.
There are many students who are very confused between which language assessment test they should enroll in for their specific career needs overseas.

IELTS exam and OET exam both are the most popular English language assessment test which is recognized and accepted across different countries. These exams are specifically for students who wish to make their career overseas.

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What’s in it for me?
1. Similarities between IELTS and OET.
2. Differences between IELTS and OET Exam.

Before starting with the similarities and differences, you must know what really IELTS and OET exams are.

First, Let’s get familiar with, 

What is the IELTS Exam?

IELTS (The International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language assessment test for work, study, and migration. IELTS results are recognized by more than 10,000 organizations, including Over 10,000 organizations globally Trust IELTS Exam including many, employers, educational institutions and governments.

In the IELTS test, all four major language skills are tested – Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

What is the OET Exam?

OET Exam also known as Occupational English Test, is a popular English language assessment test specifically for healthcare professionals.
OET exam is conducted to assesses the English language communication skills specifically for Healthcare professionals who wish to practice by registering themselves oversea in an English-speaking environment.

OET Exam is available for 12 healthcare professionals which are – medicine, dentistry, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, optometry, physiotherapy, podiatry, dietetics, radiography, veterinary science and speech pathology.


  1. Both the IELTS and OET test four major English language skills – reading, listening, writing and speaking. For which they both have four sub-tests, one for each skill: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
  2. Both tests have a grading score system, hence there is no pass or fail.
  3. Both tests were developed in the 1980s for people who are non-native.


1. Difference in versions

There are two versions of tests in IELTS – IELTS General and IELTS Academic.

The General version of IELTS is a little easier than the academic version of IELTS. However, two subtests – listening and speaking are the same for general as well as for academics IELTS. Remaining two subtests i.e. writing and reading are different for each version.

On the other hand, the OET Exam has 12 versions of tests for different professionals belonging to the healthcare industry. The 12 versions are – Medicine, dentistry, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, optometry, physiotherapy, podiatry, dietetics, radiography, veterinary science and speech pathology.

2. Preparation Difference

Preparation courses for both IELTS and OET follow very different pathways and also use very different materials to prepare.
Preparation for IELTS includes learning a lot of vocabulary on a wide range of academic subjects. The Candidate must be prepared to read academic texts quickly and effectively and easily understand discussions and lectures. The candidate needs to learn how to properly write reports.
Preparation for OET includes learning a wide and huge amount of healthcare and profession-specific language.
The Candidate needs to be able to write any healthcare-related stuff such as a referral letter, prescription to the patient.

3. Contextual Difference

The contextual difference is one of the biggest difference between IELTS and OET exam.
In both versions of IELTS, the candidate’s English language is tested within the context of a wide variety of topics.
On the other hand, the OET Exam tests the candidate’s English ability within the context of only healthcare and medical professions.
This contextual difference is considered one of the major differences between the OET and the IELTS Exam.

4. Scoring Difference

Scoring in both IELTS and OET is based on grading system and no numerical marks are given.
But in IELTS marks are allotted out of 9 whereas in OET marks are allotted from A to E (where is best).

5. Exam Reappearing

One more most noticeable difference is that If you score fail in any module in IELTS, then you have to give all four subtests again.

On the other hand, in OET if you are not able to score well in any subtest then you can focus only on that particular skill and reappear for that particular one.


IELTS and OET exam both have 4 subtests – Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking. But the difference is the time allotted to each subtest.

The timings allotted to each subtest of IELTS –

  • Listening: 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
  • Reading: 60 minutes
  • Writing: 60 minutes
  • Speaking: 11–14 minutes

The timings allotted to each subtest of OET –

  • Listening – approximately 45 minutes
  • Reading  – 60 minutes
  • Writing – 45 minutes
  • Speaking – approximately 20 minutes


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